A walk through the back alleys. We make it a habit to visit back alleys when we're abroad, they reveal a lot about the way locals go about their daily business. Or more specifically in this case, how they solve their parking problems.
Artistic Salobrena, decorated tiles, stone benches ...The original Virgen del Rocio (depicted here in one of our pictures on beautiful decorated tiles) is a small carved wooden statue of the Virgin and Child, venerated in Almonte, Spain according to Wikipedia. And even cobblestones can be used to create a work of art here in Salobrena.
We spent a day in Almunecar Aquapark. It's only a 13 kilometre journey from Salobrena and takes around 15 mins.
It's not a huge aquapark by any means, but plenty enough to keep three small people of 8,10 & 11 amused for hours. They really enjoyed the slides, especially the Black Hole.
The park has cafes and ice cream parlours a-plenty, a safe deposit box (extra 3 euros cost) and sun umbrellas (also extra cost). There are plenty of shady trees if you are happy lying on your towel and saving the unbrella expense.
There are various price schemes. It is cheaper to go after 3pm for example.
If there are a few of you, it is worth getting a family ticket. (Ours was around 36 euros for the day).
The thermometor showed 50 degrees when we were there, so take plenty of suncream and a hat.
Parking (free) was easy outside even in August.
Recommended for a hassle free day.
When the park shuts around 7pm, go into Almunecar old town (tricky parking in a large van, but The Gypsy Dancer is a very good driver!) and wander around the little streets with charming shops and tapas bars. (Some flamenco bars here, I would have liked to explore more).
A great day out without having to go too far.
Of course, after some weeks of swimming, sunbathing, relaxing and eating good food in Salobrena...One needs to show off ones tan and dress accordingly glam for an evening out.
In Salobrena, as in much of Spain, people often start their evening with a paseo - a stroll along the promende to admire and be admired. Dinner is often not until 10pm and children are all out late with their parents after a nice siesta.
Pictured here, three beautiful ninas in their finery under a shrine ... Hey Guapitas !
The Gypsy Dancer and I took a strong liking to El Penon retsuarant on the beach. Their seafood and salads were great and they served a particularly nice white Rioja wine to wash it down with. The view from the restaurant was fantastic - a perfect setting to eat, drink and be merry after a hard morning lying around reading on an unspoilt beach ; )
**Returned to El Penon 2007 and it is now under different ownership and food /service not as good, sadly. Still a great place for a simple salad and a glass of wine, just because of its perfect location.
The old village of Salobrena perched on a large rock jutting out of the landscape, is a wonderful Moorish Maze of old winding streets, white painted houses built higgledy-piggledy on top of one another and crowned by a 10th centuary castle on the top. Unlike some of the other white villages, it is not spoilt by tourism and there you will find a genuine Andalucian way of life. The friendly locals are full of courtesy, and have a relaxed charm of days gone by.
In the cool of the early morning or evening, a climb up the hill is definitely a must. There are fabulous views of orchards of sub-tropical fruit trees and expanses of sugar cane spreading to the coast. There are handful of tapas bars for refreshment, but the fun is in the winding streets and the feeling of an age gone by where family and community are important and children can play freely on the streets.
Pictured here, two little guapitas by a wall heading up to the castle around 7 in the evening on our way up.
It was August and it was hot. Although I should point out, that Salobrena does not seem to get as hot as other places along that coast thanks to a cool sea breeze, the climate was perfect.
We spent day after day with the small people, doing absolutely nothing but lying on the beach reading, swimming and snorkling. The sea is very clear and perfect for small people to snorkle in sight.
As you approach the sea front, the beach to the right of El Penon (rock) was our favourite, It is a small bay, so you can read without having to worry about the children too much, who were in absolute heaven. The beach is surrounded a by sugar-cane plantation, so unspoilt, but has simple facilities and a great seafood restaurant.
Apart from swimming in the clear warm waters, there are rockpools to explore with a fishing net. Many people were catching that nights dinner no further than 3 feet into the water and also an array of fish for returning to the sea. There is usually some amusing thing to watch without moving an inch! There are also a few pedallo boats with slides to hire, but no noisey jet skis or anything to disurb your peace. There are a couple of low key cafe's for cold drinks, ice creams and a clean toilet ; )
Around 1, when it gets hot, we would go for lunch and eat salads and fresh fried fish in the beach side restaurant, then off for a siesta, either at home or under the shade of sun umbrellas draped with shawls.
Pictured here, The Small Person and a low passing cloud!
We saw some good flamenco this trip. Not your cheesy cabaret style, but local flamenco in relaxed surroundings. The gypsy Dancer taught the Small People a Tangos which they practised at every opportunity They got pretty good. Here they are dancing in the grounds of Salobrena castle under a shrine to Our Lady one hot summer evening.
Inspired by some palmas and flamenco singing coming from the apartment above our village house, there were also a few dance sessions on our terrace of an afternoon .
The old town of Salobrena is a series of small streets with whitewashed buildings. The old blends well with the new behind the whitewash and the narrow streets rise up to the old fort at the top of the hill on which the town was built. The newer part of the town spreads down towards the main beach while below the fort to the left are the sugar can fileds. There are lovely little bars and restaruants around the old town and well worth visiting a few of these.
The beach in Salobrena is a long shingle / pebble beach. It has plenty of bars / restuarants / pizza places along it but when we were the season hadn't started yet and many were not open. It was the May bank holiday and as the whether ws good a lot of people came to the beach for the day and most seemed to be local rather than tourist as a result the beach was packed. Most other days it was very quiet. In the height of the season I guess it was more like the sunday we saw it (see photos) .
If you are in Salobrena you should go down to the old sugar cane fields beneath the Castle. They are still being cultivated today as they have been for hundreds of years, although tractors are now used to cut the cane. The factory is still in use and when you are in the area there is a pungent sweet smell from the cane being processed. Its exactly like when you open a tin of sweet corn and smell the contents. Not exactly unpleasent but not exactly nice either.
This is an old fort built by the Moors and is perched on the rocky outcrop overlooking Salobrena. The narrow windy streets up to the castle are a challenge if you are driving and a bigger one if you are walking as they are all up hill lol !
Check the opening times ...the castle is usually closed 2-5 .....siesta time I guess. The entrance fee is euro 2.50 I think. but its not much.
The castle has great views over Salobrena and to the Sierra Nevada to the North. The ramparts are in good shape. The general courtyard area is uneventful but there are two wells / storage pits in the courtyard that are interesting. Its worth the trip for the views.
..over the sea.
There are are couple of beach restaurants ('chiriguitos' ) where you can sip a cold drink and watch the sunset...
or climb the rock ('el Penon') and do the same.
My favourite beach restaurant was El Penon by the rock.
Along the promenade at Salobrena, there are alot of cafes, restaurants and bars varying from cheap and cheerful, where you can just grab a glass of wine and a racion of fried fish, to the upmarket Argentinian Steak House where you cook your own meat on hot coals at your table (the latter not for me I have to say, but meat eaters have highly recommended it).
So, back to the fried fish racion place...I liked this place, you could eat or not, or drink or not. It is highly inexpensive and while you are chattering away with your friends or partner, the kids can zoom around on hired Go-Carts on a paved area in front of the cafes in full view. The small people with us, absolutely loved it.
Opposite is a large bouncy castle where kids who are that bit older, can go by themselves and get a good long go for a euro. Really, it is perfect for families, the kids are well catered for and you can sit and chat with a drink while they (and hundreds of other children from babies up) can run around safe and free until after midnight in the warm air. Although it might be kiddie overload for those without children ; )
At sunset, the fortress has a special golden light... Quiet and peaceful... And even you can find a Moorish princess there... Oops! Oh, no, that's me!
Durante la puesta del sol, la fortaleza tenía una luz dorada especial... Silenciosa y tranquila... E incluso pueden encontrar a una princesa mora allí... ¡Ay! No... ¡Esa soy yo!